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rye whiskey, social hour, tom macy, cocktail, classic cocktail



New Orleans is a city famous for it’s drinking culture and is the birthplace of many classic cocktails.  It’s flagship, as well as the official libation of the Crescent City, is the Sazerac . At the turn of the 20th century it was one of the most popular cocktails in America.  Today it is a worthy addition to your cocktail arsenal.  It’s a close relative of the Old Fashioned that features whiskey, sugar and bitters, but a few tweaks and a unique preparation propels it in a completely different, and delicious, direction.  


The Sazerac has a few essential ingredients that are not usually stocked in the most home bars: Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe.  Peychaud’s can be ordered online and is affordable.  Absinthe will cost you, but it will last you too. A bottle will get you at least 100 Sazeracs.


The drink doesn't look like much with a plain glass, no ice and no garnish.  But that’s part of the Sazerac’s it’s charm.  It’s a prince dressed like a pauper. 




This cocktail is a great forumla to plug ther spirits into.  My two favorites are dark rum, making it a Latin Quarter - created by esteemed barman Joaquin Simo who owns Pouring Ribbons in NYC,  and mezcal which particulalry intruiging.

If you make a Sazerac, show it off and

tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.


  • 2 oz rye whiskey

  • ¼ oz simple syrup

  • 4-5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

  • splash of absinthe

  • lemon peel for garnish




  • Fill a rocks glass with ice to chill (as opposed to chilling it in the freezer).

  • Combine all ingredients, except the absinthe, in a mixing glass. 

  • Fill with ice and briefly stir for 10 seconds, or so.

  • Remove ice from the rocks glass and add the splash of absinthe. Swirl the absinthe around so that it coats the inside of the glass, then discard it (or drink it!).  

  • Stir once or twice more and strain into the rocks glass, DO NOT ADD ICE.

  • Express the oils of the lemon peel, rub the peel around the rim of the glass and discard.



  • Absinthe Rinse - Because absinthe’s high proof and strong flavors can easily dominate a cocktail. So here instead of adding the it right into the drink, the glass is just rinsed with it, meaning it’s swirled around to coat the sides - see below - and then dumped out (though I advise drinking it). This achieves just the right amount of aromatic impact without overwhelming the other flavors.  Just a small splash will do the trick, about 1/4 oz.

  • Chill the glass with Ice  - Generally, I’m a huge an advocate for chilling glasses in the freezer, but in the Sazerac’s case it’s a bit much.  The absinthe becomes the consistency of syrup and those all important aromas are hampered.  So for this drink I employ the comprise of filling the glass with ice to chill while I make the drink which achieves the right balance.

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